The Sierra Leone government has dismissed complaints by former President Ernest Bai Koroma that the replacement of his security details left him vulnerable and in fear of his safety. A government spokesman said Koroma’s security detail was only replaced as a routine practice by those in charge.
The Sierra Leonean constitution provides for up to 30 personnel, comprising police and military personnel, as security for every former head of state, as part of their retirement package.
In addition, they are entitled to domestic help in the form of a cleaner, cook and watchman.
Koroma served Sierra Leone as president from 2007 to 2018, he complained that his security details have been removed, among several other allegations against the new government, which he believes were part of a move to hound him.
The former president’s complaint was contained in a letter he wrote to the Inspector General of Police.
But Mohamed Rado Swaray, Minister of Information and Communication, who is also government spokesman, told journalists on Monday that the decision to replace the former president’s security detail was pure procedural, rather than any attempt at endangering his personal safety.
Mr. Swaray also said the government or the police did not have to consult with a former president to replace his security detail.
Swaray however assured that the Bio administration was committed to ensuring the safety of Mr. Koroma as a former president.
“As a government we have availed him the necessary security that is required. President Bio respects the statutory instruments of this country,” the minister said.
“These deployments are necessary for the all-round development of the personnel involved and for a watertight security for the former President and his family,” he added.
The issue has heightened political tension in a country already tethering on the brink, since the 2018 disputed elections.